Silas had a bad reaction to some treats while we were in obedience class. We thought it was the beef-based treats he had gotten from the trainer, but after a while we realized that it was (or, probably more precisely, was also) the Zuke’s Mini Peanut Butter Treats that we had bought him. They were the only thing in the store that was a good size and didn’t have an animal protein. A listed animal protein. (Turkey based treats are hard to find; in most stores we’ve had better luck getting cheese or molasses or peanut butter.)
Taking a cue from my gluten-free friends, I realized that the “natural flavors” on the list were possibly hiding something like a chicken-based flavoring. I e-mailed Zuke’s. I already knew I couldn’t feed him the treats, but all the data we can get about his allergies is useful. Zuke’s promised me that there was no MSG in the product, and that their flavorings were fresh, natural ingredients.
I wrote back, in frustration, that my dog has serious allergies to lots of “healthy, natural” things. While I appreciated that they couldn’t tell me their secret recipe, I would appreciate just a quick “yes or no” on whether or not their natural flavoring included an animal protein. I didn’t even ask which animal. I got no answer.
Around the same time, I bought some CloudStar Peanut Butter treats. I believe they’re the grain free Buddy’s Biscuits, but I don’t have the bag at hand. Having learned my lesson, I double checked for the natural flavors before I opened the bag. And, sure enough, there they were.
Today, because we’re getting low on treats, I e-mailed CloudStar (who makes Tricky Trainers, Buddy Biscuits, and Wag More Bark Less treats) with a similar question: “I know you can’t tell me your secret ingredients, but could you tell me if your natural flavors use any animal proteins at all.”
I had an answer in two hours or less. I’m not going to post it here, because I didn’t ask permission to do so. I will say that the representative agreed that pet owners should be willing to ask questions like that and gave me a more specific answer than I requested.
What I will tell you is that I will recommend CloudStar treats to anybody who asks. They have lots of flavors and options, including a wide variety of treats that have the ingredients list more explicitly spelled out. And if you have questions or concerns, there’s a good chance that the customer service will really answer them.